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 Post subject: Maladministration?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:50 pm 
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A quick query: could a panel Chair say, as he sets out the "order of play" and before the school makes its case at the start of an appeal's Part 1 something like "The school may not make the case that it is full, but that's very unlikely"?
To us it didn't sound like the sort of thing he should have said - almost like pre-judging, but I'd like any experts' view and what an ombudsman might make of it.
Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Maladministration?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2014 5:12 am 
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Welcome! :)

I think we would need to see exactly how his comments have been recorded in the clerk's notes, because that's what the ombudsman would be looking at.

Statistically he's correct, and I suspect he was trying to be helpful in letting you know that stage two was very likely to go ahead.

Was he talking about "this school's case" or about school cases in general?

If it was "this school's case", then he was probably unwise, or should at least have made clear that he was describing what has happened in the past, and not pre-judging the future.

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 Post subject: Re: Maladministration?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2014 8:03 am 
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Location: Gloucestershire
LancsLassie wrote:
A quick query: could a panel Chair say, as he sets out the "order of play" and before the school makes its case at the start of an appeal's Part 1 something like "The school may not make the case that it is full, but that's very unlikely"?
To us it didn't sound like the sort of thing he should have said - almost like pre-judging, but I'd like any experts' view and what an ombudsman might make of it.
Thanks!

If all the children who passed were offered a place yet the school still had places, then it is not full.

If there are children who passed but were not offered places, then the school must be full, and I suspect that's what the chair is saying: he thinks it likely that the school has reached its PAN. The big question is "can more children be admitted without prejudice to the school" and it doesn't look like he mentioned that in the opening speech.

However, I wouldn't have said that, even if I (and the parents) knew that the school was at PAN from the paperwork submitted by the school in advance.

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 Post subject: Re: Maladministration?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2014 10:40 am 
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Thanks Capers123 and Etienne - very interesting.
Etienne: the panel chair actually said it's very likely the head teacher will make her case. So it was a specific reference to the case we were all about to hear, not schools in general.

Capers123: The school was at PAN.

Here is another point - during questioning the Head admitted there was no prejudice to education (though she had tried to make the case for prejudice to resources), but despite that the panel still found in her favour.
Surely if it was so clear there was no 'prejudice to education' case, the panel should have found in the appellants' favour?


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 Post subject: Re: Maladministration?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2014 12:03 pm 
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Location: Gloucestershire
LancsLassie wrote:
Capers123: The school was at PAN.

So, yes, the school is full.
Quote:
Here is another point - during questioning the Head admitted there was no prejudice to education (though she had tried to make the case for prejudice to resources), but despite that the panel still found in her favour.
Surely if it was so clear there was no 'prejudice to education' case, the panel should have found in the appellants' favour?

Prejudice to health & safety? As in: there's no problems with teaching 31 children in the class as opposed to 30, but there's no space in the corridors?

I'm just playing devils advocate here. I'd have asked more questions.

It may be that there was no prejudice to education - and that the panel did allow some appeals until they found that the prejudice did outweigh the parents case. Do you know if any other appeals were allowed?

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 Post subject: Re: Maladministration?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2014 2:35 pm 
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Good points. Head said it did get congested, but they had found ways to deal with it and there had been no reported accidents, nor had Ofsted highlighted it as an issue.

But you have a point about how panel may have allowed some appeals, but were not prepared to reject the school's case at Part one and therefore have to let all 15 appellants in.

Can I ask, as I'm rather new to this, if you have sat on appeals or have been through the process as an appellant?


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 Post subject: Re: Maladministration?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2014 8:36 am 
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Quote:
Here is another point - during questioning the Head admitted there was no prejudice to education (though she had tried to make the case for prejudice to resources), but despite that the panel still found in her favour.
Surely if it was so clear there was no 'prejudice to education' case, the panel should have found in the appellants' favour?
The test is whether "the admission of an additional child would cause prejudice to the provision of efficient education or efficient use of resources".

Quote:
the panel chair actually said it's very likely the head teacher will make her case. So it was a specific reference to the case we were all about to hear, not schools in general.
Unwise!

If your appeal were to be unsuccessful, and provided this is not an academy, I would suggest ringing the ombudsman's advice line and asking for their view.
You'll find the number if you scroll all the way down to D3 (ix) b:
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeals/ombudsman

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 Post subject: Re: Maladministration?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 9:39 pm 
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Thanks Etienne - sorely tempted to ring them!

Also, can anyone tell me: is the panel Chair allowed put a limit on the number of questions appellants can ask the presenting officer, e.g. after quite a number say sthng like, "I'll take a further three questions," or do they really have to let appellants keep asking them if they're reasonable and relevant re highlighting possible weaknesses in school's case?

Struck us that a lost/diminished lunch break would have been a reasonable sacrifice to allow people, who have so much riding on a positive outcome, to keep asking Qs....


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 Post subject: Re: Maladministration?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 10:27 pm 
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Quote:
Also, can anyone tell me: is the panel Chair allowed put a limit on the number of questions appellants can ask the presenting officer, e.g. after quite a number say sthng like, "I'll take a further three questions," or do they really have to let appellants keep asking them if they're reasonable and relevant re highlighting possible weaknesses in school's case?
Again, I would have thought this an unwise thing to do!

However, for a complaint to succeed it would probably be necessary to say what [significant] question or questions went unanswered.

There could also be an issue about whether the limiting of questions was recorded in the clerk's notes. My guess is that it wouldn't have been!

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 Post subject: Re: Maladministration?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:10 am 
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Thanks Etienne. Our guess is that the conjecture on the likelihood of the Head making her school's case, as well as the limiting of Qs probably have not been recorded, which will make proving a case much more difficult we suspect....


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